Planning a trip to Japan might feel intimidating, especially if you’re not used to international travel, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing one of the world’s most unique countries. Here, we’ll explain in detail how to plan your trip to Japan, from travel basics to advanced tips and FAQs.
Or, skip the reading and plan your travel to Japan with a Fora Advisor. From booking incredible accommodations in the best areas to providing elite travel tips — all while scoring you exciting travel perks — advisors will make sure your trip is an amazing experience from start to finish.
Planning a trip to Japan: the travel basics
There are a few basic Japan travel FAQs you’ll want to have the answers to before planning a trip to Japan. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
Do you need a visa to travel to Japan?
If you’re traveling to Japan from the United States, you don’t need a Japan tourist visa unless you plan on staying for more than 90 days. If you’re traveling from elsewhere, a Fora Advisor can point you in the right direction.
In any case, you will need a valid passport to enter the country.
Does Japan have any entry requirements? Are COVID-19 rules still in effect?
COVID-19 policies for travelers vary by country of origin and are likely to change with new events.
Travelers may need to be vaccinated and / or have a negative COVID-19 test. Depending on where you’re coming from, tests are provided upon entry. American travelers can find up-to-date information on the US Embassy to Japan’s website.
Is getting around Japan easy?
Generally speaking, yes! Japan’s railway system is arguably the world’s most efficient, and intercity public transportation, even walking, is similarly seamless.
It should be noted that not all signs have English counterparts, especially in more rural areas. A translator app can be useful in these instances.
Do people speak English in Japan?
In major cities, it’s not too uncommon to run into people who speak basic English. However, you’re best off using a translator app and learning at least a few basic Japanese phrases.
Japanese people are delightfully friendly and polite, and are often happy to help travelers.
Planning a trip to Japan: advanced tips & FAQs
Once your more basic Japan travel questions are answered, you can start planning a trip to Japan in earnest.
How many days in Japan is enough? How long should my first trip be?
If you want to see everything, you’ll have to measure your trip in months or years. But we know that’s not exactly realistic.
We recommend spending at least one week in Japan, as this will give you enough time to explore one or two of the top destinations. That doesn’t mean a shorter trip isn’t possible, though. A Fora travel advisor can help you plan the trip to Japan that’s right for you.
What’s the best time to go to Japan?
There’s no easy answer, but we offer a full explanation in our guide to the best months to visit Japan. It ultimately depends on what you’re visiting for.
For example, if you want to visit Osaka (check out our Osaka itinerary), the best time to visit may be in late spring, when some of the crowds have quieted down, the weather’s temperate and the cherry blossoms are still in bloom.
How much does a trip to Japan cost?
A trip to Japan will likely cost a lot more than traveling domestically, but beyond that, it’s hard to say without specifics. Where you’re staying (check out some of the coolest hotels in Japan), which places you visit, where you want to eat and many other factors all affect the final cost.
Don’t worry, though. When planning a trip to Japan with a Fora Advisor, you’ll get the best deals on hotels, along with expert recommendations to get the most value out of your vacation.
Is etiquette really that important in Japan?
Yes. Courtesy and respect are very important aspects of Japanese culture. For example, bowing is an important greeting, and don’t be surprised if you have to take your shoes off to enter certain buildings, especially homes.
But as we mentioned above, Japanese people are very friendly, and often eager to help tourists who respect local culture.
Learning basic Japanese can be very beneficial
While English speakers are somewhat common in the major cities, if you’re going to some of the more unique places to visit in Japan, knowing basic Japanese will make a difference.
Simple phrases — please and thank you, greetings, etc. — will show your willingness to work with locals, and they’ll likely return that eagerness in kind. And if you’re wondering how to plan a trip to Japan that will be unlike anything else, you’re going to want to interact with locals.
Planning a trip to Japan: where should you go for your first (or 20th) time?
Arguably the most important part of planning a trip to Japan: deciding where to go!
Whether this is your first time in Japan (and if so, check out our first timer’s guide to Japan) or your 20th, building an itinerary with a Fora Advisor beforehand can help you maximize your time.
Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka are Japan’s top destinations…
Traveling to Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto is the most popular choice. These cities are world-class examples of urban locales that blend modern technology with traditional roots. Yet each has a distinct feel and form.
Whether you’re getting off the beaten path in Kyoto or enjoying your first time in Tokyo, a Fora Advisor will be happy to make sure your trip is unforgettable.
…But there’s much to see outside these destinations, too
As exciting as the three major cities are, exploring Japan’s smaller cities, countryside or mountainous northern region is just as grand. From New Year’s skiing in Niseko to enjoying the more traditional culture of Naoshima, there’s no shortage of things to do outside of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.
How to plan a trip to Japan for the first time (or the 20th) and get amazing travel perks, too
The best way to plan your trip to Japan is to enlist the experience and help of a Fora Advisor. They’ll go over the best places to stay in Japan, like where to stay in Tokyo — the coolest hotels in Tokyo are among the best in the world, by the way— where to stay in Kyoto and more.
And you’ll get access to exclusive hotel perks and upgrades . This can include property credits, room upgrades, or even complimentary meals and nights. Even better, these perks come at no extra cost to you.
The help doesn’t stop at hotels. Advisors can recommend the best restaurants and things to do in Japan, as well. Maybe you’re looking for the best food in Japan? An advisor has the connections, if not the personal experience, to land you at the top restaurants and bars around, so you don’t have to waste time researching by yourself.
If you’re planning a trip to Japan, why not book with a Fora Advisor?